01-Headtuners-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

Words by Tom Copsey

To guide you through the multitude of snowboards out there, we collected a heap of 14-15’s sickest sticks and arranged them alphabetically by brand. We’ve also summarized useful info like the riding they’re best suited to (All Mountain, Backcountry, Freestyle, Jib), their shape, base profile and stiffness. This stuff all affects how a board will work for you and your style of riding, so here’s a 101 to help you snag what’s right for you:

Base Profile:

Camber – the classic profile – is predictable, responsive and lively but not as forgiving, pressable or floaty as more recent innovations. Reverse, less common today, feels surfy and fun, yet lacks pop, stability and response. Hybrid blends elements of reverse and regular camber (and occasionally zero camber) in various combinations and zones to give a happy medium, while Zero – a flat profile – gives a predictability and stability akin to camber but with a less-aggressive feel. Some brands take base profiles further – like Bataleon’s camber with a 3D Triple Base Technology (increasing forgivingness without sacrificing pop) or K2’s Lifted Baseline (adding pop to the zero camber feel) – which many riders swear by.

Price/Construction:

Adding carbon stringers, lightening-fast bases or lightweight topsheets comes at a price. But this doesn’t mean everyone should buy the most expensive board; it’s best to consider to your level and preferences. If you’re starting out it’s doubtful you’ll feel any benefits of top-end construction (often quite the opposite), but when you boss it more expensive materials can really make a difference.

Shape:

If you want to hit the park or session street spots opt for a true twin shape/flex so you can ride regular or switch equally well. If you’ll ride forwards more often than not directional twins (twin shape, directional flex – still perfect for all mountain freestyle) and directional boards are suited best for you. A tapered shape - wider nose and narrow tail - gives you optimal float riding powder.

Stiffness:

Stiff boards are best for charging fast and hard, as well as hitting big booters and pipes – though they won’t be as chilled to ride when you’re going slower. Softer flexes help with presses on jibs and are easier to turn, but won’t hold it together as well when you push it.

Length:

Construction, dimensions and intended use all play a part in the length that’s best for you, and makes a mockery of the lazy ‘up to your chin’ cliché. In short, check the recommended weight range on the product in-store or on the brand’s site, and aim to be somewhere around the middle.

Width:

Big feet; big... chance of toe drag which sucks and messes with your ride. A loose rule is if you have size US 10 feet and upwards you could run this risk depending on your binding angles. To avoid, check it in-store and if necessary go for a mid-wide (mw) or wide (w) board.

02-APO-Iconic-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 143, 147, 151 | Price: €399.00 |

The Iconic is APO’s signature line, created by letting their A-team loose in the design lab, and for 2015 it’s evolved into three models and a bunch of sizes. Olympic slopestyle boss Sage Kotsenburg gets one, as does Eero Niemelä, and the third is crafted by and for Spencer O’Brien. “They gave me the freedom to build the best women’s park board," says Spencer and for girls with aspirations to boss freestyle snowboarding then this looks to be a solid choice. The technical twin tip shape is perfectly balanced to tackle kickers and rails, and it’s loaded with regular camber to achieve maximum response and superlative grip. Like charging and have dreams of sending it on the Pro Line? Spencer’s Iconic is well worth a look.

03-Bataleon-Evil-Twin-Asymmetric-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 153, 156 | Price: €479.00 |

This season Bataleon have addressed the difference in control from toe- to heel side edges by dropping their first asymmetric board – a shorter heel side effective edge than on the toes means supreme grip whichever edge you’re on. More than this, their Triple Base Technology has been tweaked to augment board control for freestylers: Asym TBT has the uplift starting further outside the bindings on the heel side to give more looseness where you can handle it (on your toes) and better control and turn initiation where you need it (on your heels). Hence riding flat base you have a longer effective edge engaged on your toe side and more pressure can be applied before you carve, and the quicker onset of the side base on the heels means less pressure is needed to start turning. It’s a true twin shape, and packs all the high-end freestyle specifics of the regular Evil Twin so you’ll have no problems stepping up on this.

04-Burton-Flight-Attendant-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 156, 159, 162 | Price: €500.00 |

Crafted with a whole bunch of input from bossman Nicolas Müller, this is brand new model is on the stiffer, more aggressive side for freestyling powder junkies who like to charge. With a wider nose and 10mm taper on the tail it’s built to float supremely above deep snow and will be best appreciated by those who predominantly ride forwards. S-Rocker adds to the float in the nose while maintaining the snappy camber between the feet that Müller relies upon and Burton work in their Squeezebox tech to the core to give a mellower ride, yet still one with heaps of pop and response. Triax glass and a carbon I-Beam bolster performance, as does the sintered base, and it’s finished off with recycled PET topsheet to reduce waste.

05-Capita-Spring-Break-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 158, 161, 166 | Price: €629.00 |

CAPiTA make a wide range of awesome stunt sticks, but this colab with Spring Break just had us so hyped. Corey Smith’s been handcrafting his weird and wonderful snowboard shapes for a few years, but for this season CAPiTA took three of his concepts and brought them to life using all the cutting edge technology their factory affords them. Some mad science went into the project, like giving them an ultralight Surflite core using their new Surf Rocker profile – a wide-shouldered shape to give phenomenal float in pow, as you’d expect. They also worked in a unique blended sidecut for soulcarving and a surf-inspired arch past the inserts followed by a whopping reverse blend zone finished off with a bunch of taper so there’s minimal chance of the nose digging in. Though clearly built for surfing the white wave of rad, we’ve seen Dylan Gamache switch nosepress the 161 before pulling a slash to switch Eurocarve…

06-DC-Media-Blitz-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 146, 150, 155, 158 | Price: €529.95 |

Torstein Horgmo’s 2015 pro model deck is loaded with only the finest board technologies that DC has at its disposal, resulting in a high performance stunt steed that’ll handle the demands Torstein puts on it. With regular camber for heaps of life and response this is on the stiffer side – which you’ll appreciate when riding hard – and the Quadrax glass and carbon stringer give supreme edge hold and mega pop that’s boosted further by the Fresh Deck topsheet. Tips Up technology increases stability without increasing length, there’s a sintered base for speed, and the whole board is super lightweight for the pinnacle in performance no matter what terrain you’re riding. After all, this dude does it all at the highest level so his board needs to, too.

07-Drake-Battle-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 163 | Price: €N/A |

If you love charging pow then this beasty big mountain spear of a board from Drake will get you frothing. With a lightweight core designed to cope with even the hardest charging speed freaks you can be sure the Battle will be up for the fight. The Pow Camber adds to response while at the same time lifts the nose in deep snow, plus it has a shorter contact length and ensures a mellower ride when you’re not gunning it. With a graphite base you’ll go like the clappers, so if you love the backcountry, loathe the park and want to ride a board that draws attention, make sure you check out the Battle.

08-GNU-Space-Out-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 153, 157, 161 | Price: €599.95 |

Forest Bailey is one super versatile dude. You might know him for his bossing of rails but he’s a damn fine all-rounder who rips as much on pillows, lines and other awesome aspects of snowboarding as he does when slaying metal. And the Space Out is Forest’s personal rocket ship for when not sliding the streets. With Mervin’s renowned C2 BTX aggressive camber/rocker hybrid it’s fun to ride yet holds on when pushed, so you can be sure of stomping big landings, ripping hardpack or floating the pow, plus it’s got the epic edge hold of Magne-Traction to boot. Weird is good, so if you’re into riding the whole mountain and want something to get you noticed, get weird on the Space Out.

09-Head-Evil-i-Flocka-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 138, 142, 146, 149, 152, 155, 158, 161 | | Price: €399.95 |

The Evil i Flocka is Alex Tank’s true twinned steed of choice for both balls-out jib assaults and mellow fun laps. As well as the distinctive double hammerhead shape and tasty graphics, it has a flat camber profile for a ride that’s both forgiving and responsive. This ultralight true twin is loaded with technical features to up your game – stabilising Intellifibres stiffen up as you push it, the bamboo core boasts a lick of basalt to improve pop and response, and there’ a speedy sintered base to ease you over flat spots. Head offer a lot of bang for your buck, hence if a top-end jib stick at a price that won’t break the bank is on your agenda, peep this bad boy.

10-K2-Wowpow-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 146, 149, 151, 154 | Price: €499.95 |

Touted by K2 as the ‘ultimate all-mountain board’ for women, the brand new Wowpow is perfectly designed to charge groomers, slash pow or even throw the occasional shape in the park on. Their All Terrain Baseline mixes zero camber with Tweekend tips to give effortless hardpack turns and ample float in soft snow and crud, with its directional shape and flex being geared towards giving riders what they need for this kind of snowboarding. Response is second to none thanks to Hybritech construction wrapping a lightweight WH3, honeycomb-infused core bolstered by CarbonWeb glass, plus the distinctive graphics with a view to the core will certainly turn heads.

11-Lib-Tech-JL-Deflower-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 160 | Price: €696.69 |

Snowboards with interesting-looking tips and tails are nothing new these days, but when we saw Lib’s Deflower we couldn’t help but exclaim “WTF?!’ Jamie Lynn celebrates a 20-year relationship with the Seattle-based brand this winter and they created this masterpiece – adorned by Lynn’s distinctive own art – as part of the celebration. Based on the powderphilic Birdman model, this features an über long nose to buoy you up in the deep stuff while the effective edge is, in fact, that of a way shorter board to give you the control you need ripping chutes, trees or hardpack. Magne-Traction and a camber/rocker mix come as standard and added to the Power A Core, internal sidewalls and TNT base gives performance that’s “like cheating but nobody loses."

12-Lobster-Nose-Job-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 143-149, 148-154 | Price: €429.99 |

“Circumcise your stick!" says Lobster chief Halldor Helgason. This head turner has its tips full of ABS rather than wood so you can hack away at ‘em to give yourself a unique custom-look. They even include a template to help you out, but best to go full freestyle and design your own tips. Aside from this, the Nose Job features Jib TBT, a pop core, biax laminates and a sintered base. As you might expect, the Nose Job is aimed squarely at park riders who want something unique – Lobster state it’s a cross between their Jibbaord and their Parkbaord – and with a true twin shape (out the wrapper, at least), rail-optimised TBT, snappy and poppy core and laminates, and a base and edges that give the fastest and most responsive ride, you know that this will perform as well as it attracts attention.

13-Nitro-Bad-Seed-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 146, 149, 152, 155 | Price: €499.90 |

This new addition to Nitro’s stable of shred stallions touts the perfect amount of freestyle camber and is crafted to deliver killer performance for any kind of park rat. Fresh for 15 is their new Lowrider Camber – a mellow positive camber that delivers flex without sacrificing stability, snap and pop so you can press for days without worrying about washouts on landings – and Power Pods that add width under the bindings for boosting edge control and turning performance. And as it’s also loaded with a Powercore II core, Bi-Lite laminates, durable Railkiller edges and a sintered base, you can be sure this true twin will get it done, be it on booters or jibs.

14-Ride-Alter-Ego-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 155, 159, 162 | Price: €529.95 |

If you saw Jake Blauvelt’s Naturally last season you’d have caught a glimpse of an early prototype of what has become the Alter Ego, and this should give you a good indication of what this deck’s all about. Aside from a shape and flex geared towards natural terrain freestyle, the most noteworthy thing about this is its tail – the swallow tail can be clipped together (similar to on a splitboard) to give maximum tail float and solidity when hitting jumps or charging, or you can unlock it when you’re wanting to sink the tail in and surf your way down the hill. Slimewall inlays add vibration absorption and durability, while Popwalls and carbon laminates jack up the responsiveness. If stunts and powder are your thing, this will give you the option of adjusting to snow conditions like never before.

15-Rome-Gang-Plank-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 142, 149, 152, 156 | Price: €469.90 |

New this season from Rome is this all-terrain steed that’s geared towards making whatever kind of riding you want to do feel more fun. Slash beside a tree or bonk off it? Press a box or carve like a Russian? The Gang Plank can do it all and its hassle-free versatility has made it a big hit with the team already. Rome’s Freepop Rocker is flat underfoot with rocker at the nose and tail for stability, butterability and float, while the true twin shape will perform perfectly whichever way you ride. As well as a snappy, responsive core and glass layup, this also boasts bamboo Hotrods for even more pop. From peak to park the Gang Plank will guarantee goodtimes.

16-Salomon-Premier-Split-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 157 | Price: €1299.95 |

More riders are looking to the freedom of liftless access to get their shred on these days, and as a result splitboarding is becoming ever-more popular. In addition to their regular splits, for 2015 Salomon have come up with a unique, four-part model – the Premiere – which allows for faster touring with less weight than ever. With the two mid-sections of the board stowed in your pack, the skis are now a mere 90mm wide meaning they glide better through the snow as you approach, and it also shaves off 800g of weight for easier hiking. It’s also designed shorter and wider than a regular split for better control and float, and locks together to give improved torsional stiffness and reduced vertical movement. Coming with custom pucks, the Voilé universal kit, custom skins and crampons for steep terrain, this Josh Dirksen-inspired solution is certainly worth a close look at.

17-Slash-Aurora-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 155, 158, 162 | Price: €649.00 |

Gigi Rüf’s board company drop this crazy-looking board for 2015 that’s all about the highest of high-performance all mountain riding. An evolution of the ATV from previous years, the Aurora is a stiff, hyper-responsive beast perfectly designed to charge any terrain – much like Gigi himself. It’s loaded with high-end tech, too: Slash’s Dual Camber gives predictable response while making the board easier to turn, Redline Sidecut (developed by Gigi and his brother) adapts to how hard you’re riding to provide optimum control, and Ultimate Traction – a small bump in the middle of the sidecut – ratchets up edge hold and stability on hardpack and ice. The Aurora is perfect for anyone with aspirations of riding like the Bosstrian legend.

18-Smokin-Awesym-Fawsym-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

Awesym

| Sizes: 148, 152, 156, 156W, 159W, 162, 162W | Price: €469.90 |

Fawesym

| Sizes: 140, 144, 148, 153, 156 | | Price: €469.90 |

What started as ‘an experiment gone right’ is back for 2015 clutching a bunch of awards from its first season of asymmetric awesomeness, and there’s even a couple of different camber options – plus a women’s-specific model – added to the party this time round. With different sidecuts on the toe-and heelside, this true twin helps make up for the body’s biomechanical shortcomings to improve edge hold and control. For the dudes there’s a CTX (rocker dominant camber) version or a TTX (camber dominant rocker) if you want a bit less forgivingness and more power. Whichever version is up your street you can be sure it’ll be loaded with Smokin’s premium materials like Pop Gnarly, Mellow Mag and a 6k sintered base to give you top draw freestyle performance.

19-Technine-Elements-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 152, 154, 156, 158 | Price: €510.00 |

Autumn 2014 sees a bunch of sick boards dropping from Technine, and while Andrew Brewer’s Life Aquatic-inspired graphic caught our eye, we couldn’t help but showcase the Elements. Why? Because we’re old and remember the halcyon days of Vert skating in the 80s and specifically the graphic that Mark ‘Gator’ Rogowski (from which the Elements takes its cue) had on his pro model Vision deck back then. Nostalgia aside, this is a full-on quiver killer with a hybrid camber, true twin shape and the kind of flex that’ll take you from pow to park with zero stress. The lightweight, honeycomb core has carbon added for more pop and it’s got a 7500 sintered base to help you over those knuckles. If you want to do it all, check out the Elements.

20-Völkl-XBreed-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 150, 153, 156, 159| Price: €429.95 |

This lean, green snowsliding machine touts that it’s the ‘superior symbiosis of all rocker and camber benefits.’ The Xbreed has cross-pollinated itself with camber between the feet and rocker in the nose and tail for the liveliness associated with the former and the fun feel and float the latter is famed for. It’ll be playful for spring slush laps yet aggressive if you drop in to icy pipes, while the Blunt Nose Geometry lengthens the effective edge resulting in added grip and the paradoxical feeling that you’re riding a longer board with a shorter length. Völkl added in a sintered base for a speed boost, Shock Absorber to take the spank out of stomps and a POP2.0 core with Premium Carbon to ramp up response, making the Xbreed a solid choice for freestylers wanting to boss the whole hill.

21-Whitegold-Proto-XIVV-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 151 | Price: €589.99 |

The Proto is built for powder, but rather than pow surfing this new model is aimed squarely at pow skating. It’s a true twin with a wider waist to give the float of a longer board with the manoeuvrability of a smaller stick, and this is complemented by the all-new TWINPOW TBT base profile that allows epic float, fun forgivingness and performance in deep snow riding regular or switch. Sidewalls made of high-density rubberized cork ensure a smooth ride with even power distribution, and the end result is a deck that’s unlike any pow board you’ve ever ridden. Even more interesting is that it’s part of a Whitegold program dubbed +U, which is kinda like an open source laboratory – if you snag yourself one you’ll be able to provide feedback on the performance to help fine-tune future models, plus you’ll receive a discount voucher for the next incarnation of the +U experiment.

22-Yes-The-Greats-2014-2015-Snowboard-Review

| Sizes: 152, 154, 156, 158 | Price: €519.00 |

As much as snowboarding needs to look forward it’s also important we remember our heritage and that’s exactly the direction that YES are taking with The Greats, which marks a welcome return to their line for 2015. This Camrock, asym twin pays homage to both the riders and photographers who’ve shaped the sport and pushed us to where we are today, so you have iconic images of Jeff Anderson (152), Jeff Brushie (154), Mike Ranquet (156), and Damien Sanders (158) adorning the different lengths. Tributes aside, this has a tighter heel sidecut to balance out the different control you have on heel and toeside turns, a lively Poplar core with Triax glass for epic edge hold, and a 2000 sintered base so you can send it hard.